The world is changing. New customer needs and technological developments permanently change the rules of doing business. The shelf life of business models is getting shorter and shorter. For a company that wants to remain successful in the long term, this means that it must examine how value can be created in the future.
Execute versus search
It is good to realise that the execution of existing business and the search for new ways of creating value require totally different competences. The execution of existing business is about fulfilling the agreements you have made with customers. Delivering what you promised. Within the associated costs, timelines and quality standards. You don’t want to take any risks and you want to work efficiently and accurately.
Finding new business models is about searching. Experimenting, learning fast, immediately making adjustments based on the insights, and thus becoming distinctive compared to other providers. This requires curiosity, risk and flexibility.
Innovation is mainly about doing. Going outside to discover what concerns (potential) customers, what the market looks like, what players, rules and developments are. From these insights, several options can be drawn up. And then quickly go outside again to validate your ideas and especially to discover what you did not know you did not know. Innovation is about getting insights. It is not about proving that what you have come up with actually works, but mainly about exploring what is wrong with your idea or what could be improved. This requires the skill to first of all make the most important assumptions clear. Then setting up the right experiments to validate or invalidate these assumptions. Finally, you must have the knowledge and skill to draw conclusions from the insights and translate them into iterations of your original idea.
Validation is basically about testing your key assumptions. The goal of validation is to minimise risks and costs by interacting with the real world as quickly as possible and gaining insights. There are many ways to validate your ideas and assumptions. Not only digitally by means of growth hacking, but also by observing, engaging in conversation or testing a minimum viable product or prototype in the market. This requires curiosity, pragmatism and guts. See a disability as a gift and not as a certificate of impotence. Fail fast, learn fast.
At the end
Innovation requires a different mindset: a Growth mindset. One that is focused on discovering that which you did not know you had. Thinking in terms of options. Accepting that there are many variables that cannot be estimated. Variables that create countless opportunities for new forms of value creation. So it is mainly about doing!